Sheffield Wednesday: Gray to play safe as big kick off looms

Jeremy Helan will miss four to six weeks
Jeremy Helan will miss four to six weeks
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Stuart Gray admits he is keeping one eye on Brighton as he puts the final touches to his pre-season preparation.

Injuries have blighted the Owls squad as the big kick off approaches and Gray knows he cannot afford to have any more players in the treatment room before the trip to the Amex next Saturday,

With that in mind, the Wednesday head coach will carefully consider his selection for Saturday’s final friendly at Barnsley.

“I’ve got to make sure we go to Brighton with a healthy squad,” Gray told the Star.

“Not only that, if we beat Notts County in the cup it’s seven games in 21 days which is a tall order for any team, more so for a small squad like ours.

“A few of the development squad lads came on against Newcastle so they’ll probably play a bit more part in the game on Saturday.”

Jeremy Helan this week became the latest victim of a growing injury curse after tearing his groin, a problem which will rule him out for four to six weeks.

Fellow wide man Jacques Maghoma was withdrawn at half time in the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle after taking a hefty knock but Gray believes he suffered no lasting effects.

Gray said: “It was just precaution. He was a bit sore after a knee in the back and a kick on the ankle. I’m sure he’ll be right for training.

“Hopefully Jose Semedo will join in full training on Friday with a view of playing some part at Barnsley.

“The Barnsley game will come too soon for Lewis Buxton and he could be touch and go whether he’ll be available for Brighton.

“With Kieran Lee, the Newcastle game came too early. His groin is settling down and if it settles down enough, it’ll be up to me to decide whether it’s worth risking him on Saturday.

“Keiren Westwood has got a slight tear in his cartlidge but the specialist doesn’t want to operate on it. Touch wood, if there’s no reaction in training, he will play at Barnsley.”

Trialist Roy Contout is likely feature at Oakwell after coming off the bench against Newcastle on Wednesday night. Gray suggested another trialist may also turn out for the Owls.

Centre half Miguel Llera has signed for League One side Scunthorpe United on a one-year deal following his release by the Owls.

And fan favourite Jermaine Johnson has joined US side Indy Eleven, based in Indianapolis. The club was founded last year and will make its debut in the North American Soccer League – US football’s second tier.